What Is an Americano?

Posted in  Coffee  on  April 13, 2021 by  Urban Bean Coffee Team

Interested in what Americano coffee is? You will find the answer here.

In this article, you will learn how the Americano appeared, how it differs from espresso and black coffee, and what variations it has.

Let's get started.

What Is an Americano? How Did It Come About?

What Is an Americano? How Did It Come About?

Americano coffee is rumored to have originated during World War II. A significant number of American soldiers were stationed in Italy during and after the war, so Italian bars and cafes were packed with American G.I.s.

But Italian espresso was not to American soldiers' liking: they found it to be too small and overly saturated. It was completely unlike the black coffee they were used to.

So baristas began to dilute the shot of espresso with hot water. This is how the caffè Americano was born. Over time, the drink gained popularity.

Americano vs Drip Coffee vs Espresso

Sometimes, Americano coffee is confused with drip coffee or is expected to taste like an espresso. However, these are different types of coffee. Let's take a look at how they differ.

Espresso is coffee prepared in an espresso machine: hot water is passed through ground coffee in a portafilter under high pressure. The result is a drink with a dense body and rich taste.

Drip coffee is prepared by passing hot water through a layer of ground coffee and a filter, but not under pressure. The result is a drink with a lighter body and different flavor descriptions.

An Americano is a shot of espresso with hot water added. The classic ratio of espresso to hot water is 1:1, but ratios of 1:2 and 1:4 are also used—you can brew an Americano however you like. The more water you add, the less concentrated the drink will be.

An Americano is not as dense as an espresso. And unlike drip coffee, an Americano has no pronounced taste descriptions.

By the way, don't confuse an Americano with a lungo (a long espresso). A lungo is brewed with more water, while an Americano has water added after brewing.

Americano Coffee Variations

Even though the Americano is frowned upon in the specialty coffee industry, it has its connoisseurs. Some coffee lovers have even come up with various recipes based on the classic Americano. You can add milk, ice, and even alcohol. Here are some Americano-based coffee options:


Americano with milk — some of the hot water used to dilute the shot of espresso is replaced with milk.


Americano with alcohol — water and 1-2 teaspoons of whiskey or rum are added to the shot of espresso.


Cold Americano — instead of adding hot water, the barista adds ice cubes or cold water.


Long Black — hot water is poured into a cup first, followed by a double espresso. This drink is especially popular in Australia and New Zealand, where it was invented. This method allows you to keep the crema on the surface of the drink.


Red Eye — A shot of espresso is mixed with a cup of drip coffee.


Black Eye — Two shots of espresso are mixed with a cup of drip coffee. Milk can be added.

Why Is the Americano Becoming Less Popular?

As more and more people are discovering filter coffee, especially pour-over coffee, Americanos are becoming less popular.

The reason why the Americano has become unfashionable is simple—coffee culture is expanding. People are trying new coffees—from different regions, with different roasts, and brewed by different methods.

Still, there are connoisseurs of the Americano. And we recommend trying the drink at least once so you can taste a piece of coffee history.


Caffè Americano - Wikipedia

The History of the Americano - Americano Lounge

About the Author

Urban Bean Coffee Team

Coffee is part of the lives of everyone on the Urban Bean Coffee team. We are a group of professional baristas, coffee bean roasters, and coffee machine repairers. Coffee has connected us, and together we strive to provide the best information to our readers. Our responsibility is to provide advice on any and all coffee-related issues. And we know that to do this we must be experts in this field. The coffee consumption culture has changed dramatically over several centuries. New brewing methods, bean quality control methods, roasting methods, and much more have appeared. We are sure that coffee will change further, and we want to be involved in changing it for the better.

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